Every September Fredericton’s Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival draws in thousands of music lovers from all over the world — and it continues to grow year after year.
“They’re coming from all over North America, the Maritimes,” said Stacey Russell, Fredericton tourism and event manager.
“It’s filling our hotels, our dining, our restaurants, our attractions, and they just take over the downtown and we love it.”
This year, based on the high demand and small venues, big-name acts like Robert Plant, Lucinda Williams, and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats sold out immediately.
But the demand has also left some customers frustrated.
“It was sold out in something like two minutes, and the system crashed so I didn’t get tickets for the show that I wanted,” said Troy McLaggan, a prospective concertgoer.
Josh Bravener, a Fredericton-based musician, says the crash just proves that “the festival is getting larger and larger.”
The huge response has prompted festival organizers to switch ticketing providers.
The city says on a busy night during the Harvest Festival there could be over 25K people downtown on Queen Street. This boost in tourism assists in economic growth for restaurants and businesses in the area. #festival #jazz #blues #Fredericton pic.twitter.com/pGmCsqWAwK— Megan Yamoah (@MeganYamoah) May 13, 2019
Tickets and passes for the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival can now be purchased from ticketpro.ca.
“We heard from our patrons that they were expecting a better user experience and so we decided to act on that,” said Brent Staeben, the festival’s director.
With the rapid growth comes challenges, but the larger the festival gets, the more notoriety there is for Fredericton-based acts.
“Harvest does a really good job at providing space for local bands to hop on bills with some of the bigger acts that maybe necessarily we wouldn’t have the opportunity to on tour,” said Bravener.
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Those who missed an early chance to pick up tickets can still take part in a lot of events and activities as the multiple-venue street festival offers free shows.
“The festival itself is awesome, there’s going to be some great shows that I’m sure there are still some tickets left for,” said McLaggan.
This year the festival has a new $50 Big Fun Pass that gives customers access to the barracks and all the late-night parties.